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Kenyatta National Hospital doctors reattach child’s arm

By Alvin Mwangi
Thursday, October 22nd, 2020
Seven-year-old Benovelence Iticha, whose hand was reattached by a team of surgeons at the Kenyatta National Hospital among them Benjamin Wabwire (centre), engages his parents. Photo/PG/JOHN OCHIENG
In summary

Anthony Kagotho, who is approaching his late 30s, is a firm believer that miracles do happen even in the most difficult of circumstances.

Up to now Kagotho cannot decipher how his seven-year-old son Benevolence Iticha is able to use his right hand, which was cut off at the wrist on October 4.

It was indeed a black Sunday, to say the least for the family, when a grass cutter he was using snapped and the hand got entangled into it, cutting it off from the wrist.

“The boy had excruciating pain and obviously, he lost several pints of blood.

The most traumatic thing to me until now was picking the bloody hand and placing it in a polythene bag,” said Kagotho.

All he could do was hope and pray as he took the hand to Nazareth Hospital and resign himself to the reality his son would forever remain without the vital limb.

Iticha would later be referred to Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) in a frantic bid to have the hand-stitched through surgery and this is where he woke up to the reality that there is God in Heaven.

And yesterday, the son Benevolence while accompanied by a team of surgeons from the hospital could not hide his infectious smile during a press briefing.

“I want to be the President,” Iticha told reporters.

Lydia Wanjiru, the mother described the son as an ambitious young who despite his tender age has always been assisting them both in their farm and their other business.

“I am truly happy and I will always remember the dedicated team of doctors in my life. They did something we never thought would be possible,” she said.

Appeal to government

The multi-disciplinary team of surgeons and other specialists endured the eight-hour procedure to reattach the limb.

 “After the chopped hand reached KNH in a cool box, our team of specialists embarked on an intricate eight hours surgical procedure that reclaimed the boy’s hand”, said the Head of Plastic and Reconstructive Unit at KNH Benjamin Wabwire.

Dr Wabwire said with good coordination, the hospital has the capacity to handle such cases and more.

However, he appealed to the government through the Ministry of Health to allocate more resources to the facility to boost their capacity as most people end up dying when they would have been assisted.

“Our appeal is that our government will at least invest more money for us to have an air ambulance as well as help to train more doctors to perform such operations,” he appealed.

Dr Wabwire said such cases require immediate attention, as a body part cannot be re-attached once it has passed 10 hours.

He further added that re-attaching children have higher chances of success, as blood vessels are small compared to the adults.

The delicate procedure involves identification of blood vessels, nerves and tendons, aligning and fixing the bones, repairing and joining the arteries and the tendons. 

The boy is now in stable condition and recuperating in the ward as he continues with treatment.

The complex hand reattachment operation is the fifth successful surgery of its kind that KNH has performed since the first case in February 2018.

“As KNH, we endeavour to pursue our strategic destination of being a multi-speciality centre’ of excellence by offering services that meet international certification standards.

We continue to improve our skills in specialsed care by building the capacity of our specialists and investing in the best facilities available in the region” said Head of the Surgical Department KNH Dr Kennedy Odede.